In the nightlife district of Wan Chai, Hong Kong Island, six African male asylum seekers, between the ages of 27 to 44, were arrested for allegedly trafficking drugs. Police seized 730,000 USD in cash and illegal drugs valued at approximately 67,000 USD.
The South China Morning Post reports that the men were arrested after having participated in illegal drug transactions with undercover police in Wan Chai over the course of three months.
Chief Inspector Addy Li Chi-kin explained the police began the sting operation after learning a group of Africans “hid illegal drugs in alleys and canopies near the bar area and touted for business in pubs.”
Police seized cocaine, cannabis buds, and ecstasy from a ventilation duct in Wan Chai. A follow-up raid of the alleged ringleader’s home led to the seizure of half a kilogram of cocaine and 21 grams of crystal meth.
The men sought asylum after arriving in Hong Kong, and have stayed in the city between one to nine years. As of 2010, according to Dixon Siddiq, chief organizer of the African Committee of Hong Kong, there are about 20,000 Africans living in the city and about five percent of that population are asylum seekers.
This isn’t the first instance of African drug smuggling and trafficking in Hong Kong. At some points in 2013, Tanzanian drug mules were arriving (that we know of) in the city at the alarming rate of five or six per week. Hong Kong is considered a preferable gateway for drug smuggling into China because the city does not have capital punishment for drug-related crimes.
By Sophia Solivio